One of Huntsville’s own has been recognized for leadership in her field. On Friday, September 26, Dr. Heather Boon was named as the recipient of the $250,000 Dr. Rogers Prize for Excellence in Complementary and Alternative Medicine at a gala in Vancouver, British Columbia. The Dr. Rogers Prize, a cash award presented every two years, is the largest of its kind in North America.
Born and raised in Huntsville, Boon is now Dean of the Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy at the University of Toronto. “I am honoured to win this prize, which is given in memory of Dr. Roger Rogers, a very caring clinician who worked tirelessly to explore treatment options for his patients,” she said.
Boon added that it felt good to be recognized for the time and energy that had gone into her life’s work. “I hope that this will inspire more researchers and clinicians to ask questions and explore treatments that come from other health paradigms,” she said. “We need to strive to build knowledge to help patients and their caregivers make evidence-informed decisions about complementary therapies.”
As a PhD student, Boon realized that although many Canadians were using alternative medicine, little research existed in the area. Since then, she has been carrying out studies designed to provide answers of consequence to patients and decision-makers in the health-care system. At the moment, she is researching how recent changes in Ontario’s regulations governing the practice of complementary medicine are impacting clinical practice, patient access and integration (or non-integration) of care.
Over the course of her 25-year career, Boon has written a textbook on natural health products and published more than 150 academic publications. She has been an avid collaborator with others, helping to develop the Centre for Integrative Medicine in Toronto, and the IN-CAM collaborative research network. Boon was also a founding board member of the International Society for Complementary Medicine Research, where she served as president from 2013-2015.